Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, by Elaine Magee
I’m going to begin this review by commenting that the book does not succeed at well as its titular concern as one would hope. Someone reading this book’s title would think that the book discusses what one is supposed to eat if one has irritable bowel syndrome. This is a problem that I definitely know people have among my circle of friends, and one would think that this book would have some helpful advice. And there are at least some worthwhile recipes (more on them later), but not nearly as much as one would expect. This is a book that spends a lot of its time explaining what irritable bowel syndrome is and what its effect is on the health of others. And while the advice on things to avoid is certainly worthwhile, this is a book that could use a lot more information on what to eat if one has irritable bowel syndrome or what to cook for others if they do, both of which are more useful than most of what this book includes.
This book is a bit more than 100 pages long and it contains seven chapters where the author presents herself as a supposed expert on irritable bowel syndrome. After an introduction the author discusses everything that someone might want to ask their gastroenterologist about their condition (1). This is followed by a look at the main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including, as one might expect, a detailed discussion of the nature of the irritation and its effects (2). After this the author then turns her attention to questions that the reader might want to ask their dietitian about their condition (3). It is only at this point that the author gives the sort of material one might expect from the book’s title in including 10 steps to food freedom, which include drinking plenty of water, avoiding fatty and gassy foods, and eating plenty of fiber (4). And it is only after this, 70 pages into the book, that we get twenty recipes of great use, including chicken parmesan, raisin brain muffins, oatmeal raisin cookies, country pot roast, cheese lasagna, crock-pot spaghetti, as well as lemon rice and crock-pot chicken breasts, some of which are favorite dishes of mine (5). It is after this that the author urges the reader to navigate the supermarket (6) effectively, learn some restaurant rules (7), after which the book ends with an index.
This is a book which appears to have other motives besides that which its title claims. Whether or not this author’s advice is good advice, it would appear that this book is aimed more at those who are self-diagnosing themselves with irritable bowel syndrome rather than those who have been so diagnosed by others. By and large, this book may be said to be aimed at those who have, for any number of reasons, rather sensitive digestive tracts, which is a very large swath of our population at present. Of particular interest in this light is that the book so highly recommends whole wheat bread products as well as a lot of foods with a fair amount of cheese, which might seem to be counter-intuitive things to recommend to people who may have some sort of gluten sensitivity or lactose intolerance, both of which are conditions which play into the digestive woes of the author’s target audience. As is often the case with a book like this, the reader is advised to take what one can from the book.